As a specialist executive search firm in London, we are often asked by both our candidates and clients we recruit for; what are the best senior management interview questions for senior management or executive roles?

If you are a candidate looking for your next career step, you can find specialised tips on how to prepare for a senior interview.

Read on for example senior management interview questions; grouped into 7 key skills or competencies that are usually assessed at executive talent, director, or leadership level.

Interview Preparation

For employers searching for talented and experienced managers, it’s important to clearly understand the key competencies the successful candidate must demonstrate. Engagement with relevant stakeholders and a local or industry specific recruitment agency before going into the interview stage can help you design an process that is efficient, robust and effective. Consistency of interview questions and the interview format is key to being able to compare candidates fairly and identify the right talent.

As an employer, you can ensure you are ready for the interview process. An important part of this is preparing the important senior management interview questions to ask candidates allowing their competencies to be thoroughly assessed against what you need in the vacant role. Getting the right mix of questions will also ensure the most competent candidate will stand out from the rest – and you to make a successful hire you can be proud of.

These senior management interview questions are inspiration for any executive-level role, but will particularly help if you are headhunting or searching for senior management positions within product management or marketing careers such as:

  • Chief Product Officer
  • Product Director
  • Head of Product
  • Chief Marketing Officer
  • Marketing Director
  • Head of Marketing

Senior management interview questions: 7 important competencies to test

General senior management interview questions

  • What are you passionate about?
  • What do you love about this opportunity and our business?
  • What interests you in our company?
  • What’s the most impactful thing you’ve done at work?
  • Tell me about something at work that made you frustrated?
  • What is your greatest achievement?
  • What are your favourite brands and why?
  • What products do you use regularly and why?
  • Why are you ready to move on from your current employment?
  • Why should we hire you?

Vision-type interview questions

Does the candidates vision of your business / brand, match yours?

  • What would you do in your first 3 months at our business? What would be your main objectives?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • What do you hope to achieve at this company within 1 year?
  • Knowing our business, what would you say our top 3 priorities are?
  • What is the biggest challenge facing the company today?

Performance style interview questions

Will this leaders experience help your business reach the next level?

  • In your opinion, what performance metrics is the most important to consider for our business?
  • Our biggest challenge is (insert business challenge, i.e. competitor activity, increased prices, timelines, customer research etc). How would you approach this?
  • On analysis of our brand, what would you say are our strengths and our areas of improvement?
  • Tell me about the biggest commercial decision you’ve ever made.
  • Tell me about a decision you’ve made which has had the biggest commercial impact?
  • What was your greatest success in your last company?
  • Other than commercial performance, what other indicators do you look to improve

Leadership interview questions

How will this addition to your leadership team benefit your organisation?

  • Who is your role model as a leader?
  • Tell me about a disagreement that you had with someone more senior than you?
  • Give an example where you were unable to influence someone within your organisation.
  • What kind of people do you struggle to work with?
  • How do you motivate people?
  • What do you believe makes a great leader?
  • Tell me about your lowest moment in your recent role?
  • How would you dissolve tension within your team?
  • What could our employees learn from you?
  • How do you create a positive work culture?
  • Describe a work culture that you thrive in?
  • Which of our company values do you most identify with?

Domain knowledge interview questions

Domain knowledge, or ‘industry/profession experience’ is highly sought after for executive level hires.  Taking the example of a Chief Marketing Officer or Chief Product Officer, the following type of interviewer questions should reveal a strong proven understanding of the professional role and business strategy: 

  • What changes would you make to the current product roadmap?
  • How would you improve customer engagement metrics within our product?
  • What areas of the product would you look to develop and why?
  • How would you increase awareness of our brand?
  • What experience do you have within lead generation, and what tactics would you try for our business?
  • What budget do you need to execute these goals?
  • What team structure would you need to deliver our business objectives?

Failure / self awareness senior interview questions

  • Tell me about an initiative/strategy you developed and championed, that didn’t work out.
  • Tell me about a mistake you made and how you handled it.
  • Give an instance where you were criticised or felt attacked by someone. How did you handle it?
  • What is your biggest regret, where you wished you’d done something differently?
  • How do you perceive yourself? How is this different to how other people perceive you?

Prioritisation / decision making interview questions

  • What challenge have you recently sought external advice for?
  • Tell me about a time where you didn’t have enough time to do something important.
  • What kind of process do you use when making a tough decision?
  • In which areas will you be planning to spend most of your time?
  • How do you establish trust with your team?
  • How do you manage decision making within your team?

Senior management interview questions: summary

If you are planning an executive level recruitment process, and need more help with senior management interview questions, contact us today. We are here to support you with your executive search and can deliver the hiring process from end-to-end. Brief us now on your ideal candidate.

Senior Management Interview Questions